Bergen: U.S. extremists worse than jihadists

By Peter Bergen and David Sterman
On Sunday, a man shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he shot and killed a third person. Police arrested a suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, who shouted “Heil Hitler” after he was taken into custody.

Cross, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a well-known right wing extremist who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now let’s do the thought experiment in which instead of shouting “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Only two days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, this simple switch of words would surely have greatly increased the extent and type of coverage the incident received.

Yet the death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)

In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).

By contrast, terrorists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 23 people in the United States since 9/11.

(Although a variety of left wing militants and environmental extremists have carried out violent attacks for political reasons against property and individuals since 9/11, none have been linked to a lethal attack, according to research by the New America Foundation.)

Moreover, since 9/11 none of the more than 200 individuals indicted or convicted in the United States of some act of jihadist terrorism have acquired or used chemical or biological weapons or their precursor materials, while 13 individuals motivated by right wing extremist ideology, one individual motivated by left-wing extremist ideology, and two with idiosyncratic beliefs, used or acquired such weapons or their precursors.

A similar attack to the one that Frazier Glenn Cross is accused of in Kansas occurred in August 2012 when Wade Michael Page killed six people in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Page was a member of a white supremacist band and associated with the Hammerskins, a white supremacist group. Page committed suicide during the attack.

Page is not, of course, the only right wing extremist to have used lethal violence to achieve political ends. In 2009, for instance, Shawna Forde, Albert Gaxiola, and Jason Bush raided a house in Arizona, killing Raul Flores and his daughter Brisenia. The three attackers sought to use the burglary to finance their anti-immigration vigilante group, Minutemen American Defense. Forde and Bush were convicted and sentenced to death. Gaxiola was sentenced to life in prison.

Also in 2009, Scott Roeder murdered Dr. George Tiller, who ran an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. In 2010 Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Roeder not only had ties to the extreme anti-abortion movement, but he also had been pulled over while driving with a fake license plate bearing the markings of the Sovereign Citizens, a movement of individuals who deny that the government has authority over them.

Of course, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil prior to 9/11 was the Oklahoma City bombing, which was masterminded by Timothy McVeigh, a man with deep ties to far-right militant circles. McVeigh killed 168 people when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building on April 19, 1995.

Despite this history of deadly violence by individuals motivated by political ideologies other than al Qaeda, it is jihadist violence that continues to dominate the news and the attention of policy makers.

Some of this is quite understandable. After all, on 9/11 al Qaeda’s 19 terrorists killed almost 3,000 people in the space of a morning. Since then al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen tried to bring down with a bomb secreted on a passenger an American commercial jet flying over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 and al Qaeda’s branch in Pakistan tried to launch bombings on the New York subway system a few months earlier. Luckily those plots didn’t succeed, but certainly if they had the death toll would have been on a large scale.

Yet the disparity in media coverage between even failed jihadist terrorist attacks and this latest incident in Kansas is emblematic of a flawed division in the public’s mind between killing that is purportedly committed in the name of Allah and killing that is committed for other political ends, such as neo-Nazi beliefs about the need to kill Jews.

Part of the reason for this disconnect might be that when a Department of Homeland Security report warning of violent right wing extremism was leaked in 2009, it generated a substantial political controversy.

In a 2011 interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Daryl Johnson, the leader of the team that produced the report, argued that following the controversy, DHS’s examination of such threats suffered, stating “Since our report was leaked, DHS has not released a single report of its own on this topic. Not anything dealing with non-Islamic domestic extremism—whether it’s anti-abortion extremists, white supremacists, ‘sovereign citizens,’ eco-terrorists, the whole gamut.”

The threat from al Qaeda and its associated forces has changed significantly since 9/11. Today, almost 13 years after 9/11, al Qaeda has not successfully conducted another attack inside the United States. And since 2011, no individual charged with plotting to conduct an al Qaeda-inspired terrorist attack inside the United States has acted with more than one accomplice. This demonstrates the difficulties today of forming a jihadist group sufficiently large enough to conduct a complex attack anything on the scale of 9/11, and is a tribute to the success of law enforcement agencies in detecting and deterring jihadist terrorist activity.

Today in the United States, al Qaeda-type terrorism is the province of individuals with no real connection to foreign terrorists, aside from reading their propaganda online. Given this, it becomes harder to explain, in terms of American national security, why violence by homegrown right wing extremists receives substantially less attention than does violence by homegrown jihadist militants.

Tyler Hite contributed research support for this article.


STR/AFP/Getty

Boko Haram’s Sick Hatred of Schoolgirls

The abduction of 200 female students from northern Nigeria was not the first attack on girls’ education by the al Qaeda-linked group—and it won’t be the last.
The numbers were shocking: “Nigerian Unrest: Gunmen abduct ‘about 100 schoolgirls’” headlined the BBC after guerrillas believed to belong to the al Qaeda-allied group Boko Haram attacked a boarding school late Monday in the Nigerian state of Borno. But this is not the first time that these radical Islamist rebels have abducted girls en masse, and it almost certainly will not be the last.

In mid-February, according to local press reports, about 400 members of the group, some of them wearing military uniforms and traveling in military-style trucks, attacked the town of Konduga, also in Borno state, near the borders of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. They murdered 51 people and carried away 20 young women.

Whether the girls are to be brutalized as part of a systematic campaign of terror in which rape is a weapon of war, or whether they are taken away by young men who believe they can marry them under Islamic law, is not entirely clear. Since the girls have no say, any difference would lie only in the degree of violence, not the fact of violation.

The Nigerian military claimed on Wednesday, without offering any specifics, that all but eight of 129 abducted girls had escaped. But according to the BBC, many parents say their girls are still missing.

What is clear is Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden,” likes to focus violence on schools, and especially girls’ schools. Western education for men is bad enough in the view of these militants; any education for women is worse. In the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, where the latest attack took place, the young women reportedly were in their dormitories studying for exams when the attackers arrived.

They were loaded into trucks and driven out into the bush, but dozens—reportedly as many as 80—managed to escape when the trucks got bogged down. The father of one told the Nigerian online newspaper Daily Post that the kidnappers did not shoot and “allowed those who could run to go but those who could not run either as a result of fear or wounds are still with them in the bush.” The man said his daughter told him there were over 100 attackers and that there were initially 243 girls taken: “She said the insurgents asked them to count themselves.”

Men described in the Nigerian press as vigilantes, local hunters and soldiers tracked the attackers, and found the women who escaped and helped them to get back to their families.

In November the U.S. State Department designated Boko Haram and a splinter group, Ansaru, as “foreign terrorist organizations.” It noted Boko Haram’s close ties to the North African chapter of al Qaeda, and said it is responsible for “thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians.”

Dozens—reportedly as many as 80—managed to escape when the trucks got bogged down.

In February, Secretary of State John Kerry denounced what he called “a brazen attack” on a village near the border with Cameroon that “took the lives of more than 100 innocent people.” Not less than a week after that, said Kerry, “Boko mounted another attack in Bama, setting 1,500 buildings ablaze, killing more than 115 people and leaving many others injured.” The United States is providing Nigeria with counterterrorism assistance, according to a statement from Kerry. “We stand with the people of Northern Nigeria in their struggle against violent extremism.”

But despite American encouragement and backing, the Nigerian government of President Goodluck Jonathan has made little headway in its war on the militants. It imposed a state of emergency in Borno and neighboring regions that are Boko Haram strongholds deep in the interior of the African continent, but it has fought a desultory counterterror campaign, and much of the funding for the fight is alleged to have been lost to corruption.

This week Boko Haram appeared to be gaining confidence and extending its range. The attack on the girls’ schools was near the established war zone. But on Monday a massive bomb hit a bus terminal on the outskirts of the capital Abuja, killing at least 71 people.

Ironically, all this is happening at a moment when oil-rich Nigeria has discovered, due to a change in its accounting procedures, that it has the biggest economy in all of Africa. Numbers are forever being revised there, it seems. And big and powerful as Nigeria is, a leading newspaper in Burkina Faso noted it feels like “a locomotive that never quits running off the rails.”


TLC

Sex Scandal Rocks the Duggars’ Christian Patriarchy Movement

The far-right Christian Patriarchy—brought to American audiences by the Duggar family—is on the verge of collapse after a series of alleged sex scandals involving the movement’s leaders.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have put many years and a lot of work into putting a smiling, nearly normal-seeming face on the extreme Christian right. The couple adheres to a fringe strain of fundamentalist Christianity dubbed the “Christian patriarchy” or sometimes the “Quiverfull” movement, and while there is a lot of internal diversity to the movement, they generally preach a combination of beliefs that run counter to mainstream America: absolute female submission, a ban on dating, homeschooling, a rejection of higher education for women, and shunning of contraception in favor of trying to have as many children as humanly possible. The movement is controversial even within Christian right circles, but the Duggars have tried to counter that with their popular reality TV show 19 Kids & Counting, where they present themselves as a wholesome everyday family that just happens to be a little more fecund and conservative than average.

The strategy has been surprisingly effective, with Michelle Duggar being able to act like she’s just like any other reality TV star, giving sex tips and sharing recipes. Jim Bob has also been able to turn their fame into an opportunity to get political power, chumming around with presidential candidates and speaking at more mainstream conservative events. While many in the Christian right are still skeptical of Biblical patriarchy’s extremism, this charm offensive has clearly softened up resistance and is giving this fringe an ability to throw their political weight around. The fact that Republicans have started to step up the anti-contraception rhetoric lately appears, in part, to be the result of this tiny group of extremists Christians putting a smiley face on absolutist anti-contraception sentiments.

But right as the Duggars are beginning to cash in on all this hard propaganda work, it seems the world they come from—the tiny but growing world of strict Biblical patriarchy—is in real danger of collapsing. While adherents to this form of Christianity, like the Duggars, like to paint an uber-wholesome face on their families and beliefs, ugly truths are finally starting to leak out regarding the problems of infidelity and alleged sexual abuse in the community.

The latest scandal is a doozy. Back in November 2013, Doug Phillips, who, in his capacity as the president of Vision Forum Ministries, is probably the most important leader in the world of Biblical patriarchy, confessed to cheating on his wife and resigned as president of his ministry. “I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” he wrote. “While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.” Shortly after his confession, Vision Forum Ministries closed up shop, unable to continue with the stink of sex scandal upon them.

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of Phillips in the small world of extreme fundamentalists. His father is one of the most critical founding fathers of the Christian  right movement generally, and Doug extended his work by largely building this culture of the far Christian right as we know it, especially if you watch 19 Kids & Counting. The Duggar family are friends and acolytes of Phillips, and Vision Forum, in turn, has used Michelle Duggar in their efforts to demonize contraception, including giving her an award for “Mother of the Year” for having so many children.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that there may be more to this entire scandal than the typical minister-caught-cheating story. The woman with whom Phillips confessed to an “inappropriate” relationship, named Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, filed suit in Bexar County, Texas, accusing the powerful Christian right leader of pushing her into a multi-year abusive relationship that allegedly featured frequent sexual assault. While the complaint never mentions sexual intercourse, it does claim that he repeatedly groped and masturbated on her while she protested. The plaintiff alleges she was basically moved into Phillips’ house with his wife and children, taken on many family vacations, and given work as a caretaker for the family, all while secretly being bullied into sexual encounters without consent. She even claims that Phillips told her that they would marry soon, as he believed that his wife was about to die.

Torres-Manteufel’s lawyer provided me with a copy of the complaint. It is searing in its criticisms of Doug Phillips. “Phillips’s patriarchal movement teaches that men are, and should be, in the absolute control of women,” reads the complaint, claiming that Torres-Manteufel was therefore bullied into believing she had no choice but to submit to Phillips’ alleged sexual abuse, even though she feared it made her “damaged goods.”

“Women within this movement are perceived to exist only for the end-goals communicated by the male leaders…” the lawsuit reads.

“In other words, women within this movement are perceived to exist only for the end-goals communicated by the male leaders that perceive themselves as the ‘patriarchs’ of this world,” the lawsuit reads. The conclusion is that a woman who truly believed this—whose boss, mentor, and father figure taught her that total submission was her duty in life—was not able to effectively plot an escape from a sexually coercive relationship.

Torres-Manteufel’s  lawyer, David C. Gibbs, is a light of the Christian right himself, having worked for Terri Schiavo’s parents, and most of the initial coverage was handled by the Christian right media rather than the secular media—suggesting that the Christian right itself is ready to boot a leader whose behavior has made him a liability.

Phillips has not publicly responded to the lawsuit but several weeks ago, when rumors of the suit began to circle, his attorney called Torres-Manteufel’s legal claims “false, defamatory and made with malicious intent,” according to The Christian Post.

Unsurprisingly, Phillips himself seems to be spiraling out of control. The Christian Post reports that Phillips’ lawyer has been sending out letters to former employees, accusing them of trying to destroy him and Vision Forum Ministries. Even though Phillips did confess to an inappropriate relationship, he has also signaled that he intends to deny some of the more shocking accusations leveled by Torres-Manteufel.

The scandal around Phillips is just the latest in a long line of ugly shocks to the far Christian right that threaten to destabilize and possibly capsize the community. As The Wire reported in early March, Bill Gothard, the leader of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, resigned his position in the wake of a series of accusations of alleged sexual abuse from dozens of women in the organization. IBLP, like Vision Forum Ministries, is a major clearinghouse for adherents to Biblical patriarchy, teaching members to shun contraception, embrace extreme forms of female submission, and, of course, use homeschooling to shelter young people from the outside world.  Unsurprisingly, IBLP is also associated with the Duggar family, who participated in the organization’s many training seminars on embracing Biblical patriarchy and who called Gothard their “number one recommended resource” for family advice. He has exerted political influence in other ways, as well, befriending Sarah Palin and bringing her in for his International Association of Character Cities conference.

Similarly, both Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College—schools that were established in no small part to give these homeschooled and sheltered kids from far Christian right backgrounds a place to go to college—have been at the center of accusations of indifference and even of allegedly covering up reported sexual abuse on campus. BJU received a lot of heat when they fired an outside firm that had been brought on to investigate accusations of sexual abuse, only to rehire them when it looked like they were punishing the firm for being too thorough in exposing the problem. Patrick Henry College was the recent target of an exposé in The New Republic that explored how young women who brought sexual abuse complaints to the school were frequently drummed out of the college or made to felt that they had somehow brought the abuse on themselves.

The “pitch” of Biblical patriarchy, as epitomized by Michelle Duggar, is that women will be coddled and worshipped in exchange for giving up their ambitions and the autonomy to practice an extreme form of female submission. The unpleasant truth is that a culture that teaches that women are put on Earth for no other purpose but to serve men is not going to breed respect for women. Instead, these incidents show a world where men believe they can do whatever they want to women without repercussions. Is it any surprise that a subculture that promises absolute control over women will attract men who want to dominate and hurt women? Don’t believe the TLC hype. Biblical patriarchy is a sour, dangerous world for women, and luckily, that reality is finally being outed.


New Law in Saudi Arabia Labels All Atheists as Terrorists

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President Obama walks with Prince Khaled Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz (C-R), Emir of Riyadh, in Riyadh on March 29, 2014.

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

No one has ever accused Saudi Arabia of being the Holland of the Middle East. You know, Holland, the country of unbridled liberalism where they encourage euthanization via legal pot brownie consumption. But, a recent report from Human Rights Watch shows new laws in Saudi Arabia have taken the country a step back and bulldozed what little public space there is for dissent in the country. The changes, predictably, come under the guise of “fighting terror.” And what’s the number one terrorist threat facing the country? Atheists, apparently.

Included under the terrorism provisions is the ban on “calling for atheist thought in any form.” That’s Article 1, in fact. It’s a rather strange headliner to the whole who-is-a-terrorist question considering atheism doesn’t historically raise many red flags in the pantheon of global terrorism. The provisions, which are almost imperceptibly broad, “create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism,” according to HRW.

And dissent is of rising concern in the country. Here’s why from the Independent: “The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.”

What does POPE Mean?

Posted: April 14, 2014 in Pope Pedophile
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The Party Of Rape Culture: 40 Republican Rape Quotes We All Should Remember

 

Party of rape culture: 40 worst rape quotes from the GOP. Rape-Nuts -- Grapenuts cereal logo with spoon full of GOP leaders' heads.

‘Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.’ – Former TX gov. candidate Clayton Williams. And here are the other 39. Image unattributed, via Gawker.com.

Republicans are obsessed with rape.

Republicans are obsessed with rape. It is perhaps the one issue that caused the GOP to implode during the 2012 Election. The foot-in-mouth disease carried by the party has revealed much about the current beliefs of conservatives and it has spread like a plague in just the last year or two, and as Republicans have continued to attack rape victims, they have united women like never before against their extreme anti-abortion agenda.

In just the last six months alone, Republicans have forced draconian anti-abortion legislation into law in Kansas, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Arkansas even after they acknowledged that they needed to do more to attract women voters. Well, apparently Republicans don’t care about what women think because they have done nothing but double down on the war on women they have been viciously waging since 2010, when Tea Party Republicans took control of state legislatures and governorships in states across the nation. Today’s Republican is required to oppose abortion exceptions for rape victims in order to avoid a primary challenge from someone further to the right. And because of that, Republicans have been saying some really stupid things about rape and rape victims. Here is a comprehensive list of 40 quotes uttered by Republicans about rape that women should keep in mind the next time they go into the voting booth in 2014.

When the next election rolls around, let’s not forget these 40 egregious rape quotes from the GOP.

 1. “Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that’s been raped? We need to protect innocent life. Period.” -Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, declaring that raped women must be additionally forced to carry and give birth to their rapist’s baby against their will in front of an all male crowd at the National Catholic Men’s Conference, June 2007.

2. “Nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those two.” -Barbara Listing, leader of Right To Life, comparing rape to a car accident, May 2013.

3. “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.” -Texas State Senator Jodie Laubenberg, absurdly claiming that rape kits are used to abort a pregnancy, June 2013.

4. “Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.” -New Mexico State Rep. Cathrynn Brown, HB 206 language stating that rape victims would be charged and arrested for getting an abortion, January 2013.

5. “Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized. I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.” -California GOP assembly President Celeste Greig, saying rape victims don’t get pregnant because it’s a traumatic act, March 2013.

6. “Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.” -Rick Santorum, stating that God sanctions rape to give women the “gift” of pregnancy, January 2012.

7. “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” -Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, repeating Rick Santorum’s belief that rape is sanctioned by God, October 2012.

8. “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” -Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, claiming that women can shut down the reproductive process during rape to prevent pregnancy, August 2012.

9. “Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject — because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low. But when you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.” -Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, claiming that getting pregnant via rape is rare therefore there shouldn’t be any exceptions for rape victims in anti-abortion bills, June 2013.

10. “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking it’s this: that there millions of abortions in this country every year. Millions of them are paid for at least in part by taxpayers. I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that’s my stand. And if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions let’s talk about it. In the meantime it’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion.” -Iowa Rep. Steve King, saying he’s never heard of a child becoming pregnant by rape and that he won’t support abortion under any circumstance until proof of such a thing is presented to him, August 2012.

11. “What Todd Akin is talking about is when you’ve got a real, genuine rape. A case of forcible rape, a case of assault, where a woman has been violated against her will through the use of physical force where it is physically traumatic for her, under those circumstances, the woman’s body — because of the trauma that has been inflicted on her — it may interfere with the normal function processes of her body that lead to conception and pregnancy.” -AFA’s Bryan Fischer, agreeing with Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, August 2012.

12. “Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape. I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things.” -Mike Huckabee, defending Todd Akin’s rape comments and zero exceptions for rape victims by talking about how much of a positive gift rape is, August 2012.

13. “Abortion is never an option. At that point, if God has chosen to bless this person with a life, you don’t kill it.” -Missouri Republican central committee member Sharon Barnes, echoing Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock that rape is God’s way of blessing women with children, August 2012.

14. “I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” -Paul Ryan, referring to rape as a method of conception after being asked about Todd Akin’s rape comment, August 2012.

15. “He also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry. Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’ What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’ -Wisconsin State Rep. Roger Rivard, claiming that some girls are just easy to rape, October 2012.

16. “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape… Uh, having a baby out of wedlock… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.” -Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Smith, comparing rape pregnancy to getting pregnant out of wedlock, August 2012.

17. “A life is a life, and it needs protected. Who’s going to protect it? We have to. I mean that’s, I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of conception. It’s a life, and I’m pro-life. It’s that simple.” -Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Smith, saying that rape is just another method of conception, August 2012.

18. “You know, I’m a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.” -Nevada Senate candidate Sharon Angle, claiming that God plans rapes, June 2010.

19. “I think that two wrongs don’t make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.” -Sharon Angle, saying that a 13 year old who gets pregnant by her father should get over it and have the baby, July 2010.

20. “I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak.” -Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, claiming that Todd Akin’s rape comments were “partly right,” January 2013.

21. “If you listen to what Mourdock actually said, he said what virtually every catholic and every fundamentalist in the country believes, life begins at conception… and he also immediately issued a clarification saying that he was referring to the act of conception and he condemned rape. Romney has condemned rape. One part of this is nonsense. Every candidate I know, every decent american i know condemns rape. Okay so, why can’t people like Stephanie Cutter get over it?” -Newt Gingrich, defending Richard Mourdock’s rape comment by telling women to get over it, October 2012.

22. “There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest — compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage… Most abortions, most abortions are for what purpose? They just don’t want to have a baby!” -Maryland congressman Roscoe Bartlett, falsely claiming that rape pregnancy is rare, September 2012.

23. “Each of these lines attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement. But nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.” -South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, referring to raped and battered women as ‘distractions’ after vetoing funding to prevent rape and abuse, July 2012.

24. “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” -Idaho State Rep. Chuck Winder, saying women don’t even know what rape is, August 2012.

25. “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life? I have spare tire on my car. I also have life insurance. I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.” -Kansas State Rep. Pete De Graaf, saying that women should plan ahead to be raped, August 2011.

26. “If I thought that the man’s signature was required… required, in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it…” -Alaska State Rep. Alan Dick, suggesting that all women, including rape victims, should have to get permission from men to get an abortion, March 2012.

27. “If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, and I would give them a shot of estrogen.” -Ron Paul, echoing Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment 7 months before Akin actually said it, February 2012.

28. “A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse.” -Former Colorado Senate Candidate Ken Buck, claiming that the victim may not have really been raped even though the perpetrator admitted that he committed the crime, March 2006.

29. “Through our conversations, I’ve heard, ‘what if somebody has a sincerely held religious conviction about dispensing the emergency contraception medication? What about their rights? How do we address those… It’s not about the victim.” -Scott Brown, putting religious belief above the needs of rape victims, 2005.

30. “When you enter into a marriage, you enter into a contract for all sorts of different things with your spouse. Why should we take it to a Class 2 felony and put a husband away who’s been a good husband for however many years … based off of something that was OK in a marriage up until that point?” -Arizona State Rep. Warde Nichols, equating spousal rape to consensual sex, March 2005.

31. “The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant.” -North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge, making the Todd Akin “legitimate rape” claim over a decade earlier, April 1995.

32. “Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” -Texas Gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams, March 1990.

33. “The odds are one in millions and millions and millions. And there is a physical reason for that. Rape, obviously, is a traumatic experience. When that traumatic experience is undergone, a woman secretes a certain secretion, which has a tendency to kill sperm.” -Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen Freind, ignoring medical science, March 1988.

34. “Fear-induced hormonal changes could block a rape victim’s ability to conceive.” -Arkansas Republican Fay Boozman, making the Todd Akin claim, he also allegedly called this “block” “God’s little shield,” 1998.

35. “Sometimes we’re actually right when we go with our gut and stand on principle in supporting underdog candidates.” -Sarah Palin, responding to Todd Akin’s rape quote, August 2012.

36. “Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.” -Bill O’ Reilly, claiming that a murdered rape victim was asking to be raped because of the way she dressed, August 2006.

37. “I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That’s what marriage is all about, I don’t know if maybe these girls missed sex ed.” -Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, saying that men can force their wives to have sex against their will, March 2007.

38. “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.” -Judge James Leon Holmes, Bush appointee, in a 1980 letter.

39. “Richard and I, along with millions of Americans – including even Joe Donnelly – believe that life is a gift from God.  To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous.” -John Cornyn, standing by Richard Mourdock’s rape comments, October 2012.

40. “The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side.” -Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, blaming the outrageous number of rapes in the military on hormones, June 2013.

… and click here for the worst Republican rape quote of all.

It’s time to take America back from these Republican rape nuts.

As anyone can see, conservatives have been saying stupid things about rape since at least the 1980s. But up until recent years, the extreme Republican stance on rape had remained on the fringe of the party. Today, Republicans proudly wear their extreme views on rape in the open for all to see. It doesn’t compute with them that the vast majority of women reject those views, and that medical science and rape statistics completely refutes them. That’s why it is so important to make sure people across the nation know all about what Republicans have said about rape and rape victims, and what they have done as a result. The most important election in our lifetimes will be in 2014 and we cannot afford to sit out like many did in 2010. There is a reason why Republicans gained the power to push their crazy anti-women agenda. It’s because voters failed to show up, thus handing victory to a party that doesn’t deserve it. Americans must do better in 2014.

We must take back state legislatures, governorships, and the House of Representatives away from the GOP. It is the only way to preserve the rights and freedoms that women have fought so long for. That includes the right to choose whether or not to end an unwanted pregnancy. Republicans have no right to make reproductive health decisions for women, especially since the great majority of those in the GOP making such laws to do so are men. That being said, women should resoundingly say ‘no’ to Republicans in 2014 and beyond until the GOP war on women is not only ended, but reversed. If Republicans ever want to hold public office again, they will abandon their anti-women agenda and their vile rhetoric. Until then, women will always remember in November.


"God With Us"

Atheist Foundation president David Nicholls says the comments are an act of desperation by the church.  Personally, I think “desperation” is an understatement of epic proportions.   There are so many things wrong with Jensen’s statements that I had to sit here and stare at my screen for quite a while before I even found a starting point.  I gave considerable thought to expounding on the sheer arrogance that a god rules the world regardless of whether or not anyone actually believes in one, the utterly ridiculous notion of a struggle between god and man, or their dogma about not being able to achieve peace, happiness and harmony in our society without their god.  However, time being at a premium today, I decided to a different route.

First of all, there is no such thing as state-imposed atheism.  A state can ban religion, but it cannot ban atheism because it is not a belief, a faith, a set of doctrines or dogmas and cannot be imposed on anybody.  Atheism is an absence of belief, and you cannot ban something that does not exist.  I have heard the argument so many times from believers who think that atheism is a belief. They compare it to a religion.  They say it takes faith.  They accuse us of hating god.  Believers really need to find another line of fire, as all of these arguments only serve to make them look like complete idiots, which is unnecessary, as many believers are otherwise intelligent individuals.  I will not bother to extrapolate  the reasons why these are illegitimate arguments, as many of you already know the details. Those of you who don’t can look them up yourselves, and perhaps better arm yourselves for the times when you are confronted by theists who offer them up.

Today, though, we are going to examine Jensen’s claims about Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mass Murder and Broken Relationships.  We’ll start with the people he mentioned, and, as far as I’m aware, none of them said “I don’t believe in god, therefore I will slaughter lots of innocent people“. Let’s start with Adolf Hitler…

On Adolf Hitler…

Christians have been trying to discredit Hitler’s faith for decades, turning their eyes away from history books. From the earliest formation of the Nazi party he expressed his Christian support to the German citizenry and soldiers. He was baptized as Roman Catholic in Austria, attended a monastery school and was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.  He was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” and his goal was to become a priest.  He was never excommunicated or condemned and the church had stated that he was “Avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.  Look it up…

Hitler was given veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany and forged a treaty whereas the National Socialist state was officially recognized by the Catholic Church.  In a letter to the Nazi party, he wrote “…this treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

He allied with Pope Pius in converting German society and made a deal with the church whereas the church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons, and in turn, Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education.  This lead to Hitler enacting doctrines of the Church as law.  He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.

He was quoted as stating, “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity.  It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today…Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”

In fact, the Holocaust grew out of Hitler’s Christian education due mainly to Jews having an inferior status in Christian Austria and Germany.  The Christians there blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus and the hatred that Hitler fostered against Jewish people began from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany.  It is well known that Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their religion.  Luther wrote a book titled “On the Jews and their Lies” which set the standard for Jewish hatred all the way up to World War 2.  Hitler, of course, expressed a great admiration for  Luther.

The Nazis began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught.  They included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961. Nazi soldiers wore religious symbols and placed religious sayings on military gear.  The official army belt buckle read “God With Us“. They got sprinkled with holy water and listened to Catholic sermons before going out on maneuvers. The Nazis had a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens and if anyone was suspected of heresy they would be prosecuted.

Here are a few quotes from Hitler:

“We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith.  We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth!  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.  To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.  As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…  And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”  -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

“Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars.  Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.” -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”  -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

Had enough of Hitler?  OK, let’s move on to Stalin:

Joseph Stalin was raised to be a Catholic Priest and I remain curious as to why his Christianity is shoved aside in all these arguments. Yes, there is no way to get around the fact that in his early career, Stalin made a vast effort to rid Russia of religion, but that had nothing to do with atheism.  It was the only way he knew to seize power of the country.

For generations the entire populace of Russia had been taught that the head of state was supposed to be close to god.  At the time in question, the head of the church in Russia was a tyrant.  The Russians were already disposed to servility and all Stalin did was exploit these two facts, and place himself in the position of god.  Once Stalin was firmly seated in office, he revived the Russian Orthodox Church in order to intensify patriotic support for the war effort.  Stalin was part of a council convened to elected a new church Patriarch.  Then the Russian theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. Even the Moscow Theological Academy Seminary was re-opened, after being closed since 1918.

So, while Stalin was no peach, he was not exactly what you would call a died-in-the-wool atheist.  He was more a secular minded religious opportunist, which is a personal character trait.  He did not use atheism to gain control, but religious principles that were modified to fit his own, sick and twisted method of revolution.

What about Pol Pot?

Truly a monster, having killed some twenty-five percent of the entire population of Cambodia.  Pol Pot targeted not just different religions, but education, science and medicine in his quest for total domination.  Now, let’s take a head count of atheists who are against education, science and medicine.  Thought so…  Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge were composed of Buddhists and Pol Pot was a Theravada Buddhist. He studied at a Buddhist monastery and then at a Catholic school for 8 years.  Cambodia’s communism was influenced by Theravada Buddhism.

Prince Norodom Sihanouk said, “Pol Pot does not believe in God but he thinks that heaven, destiny, wants him to guide Cambodia in the way he thinks it the best for Cambodia, that is to say, the worst. Pol Pot is mad, you know, like Hitler.”

So, while Pol Pot was definitely not a Christian, he was also definitely not an Atheist.

Let’s get on with some Mass Murder, shall we?

Add up the deaths that were attributed to Hitler, Stalin and Pot.  Then round up for good measure.  You can safely say that the number is staggering.  Probably upwards of fifteen million.  However, consider the following conflicts where the only differences between the opposing factions were and are religion:

  • Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49
  • Algeria, 1992-
  • Baha’is, 1848-54
  • Bosnia, 1992-95
  • Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901
  • Christian Romans, 30-313 CE
  • Croatia, 1991-92
  • English Civil War, 1642-46
  • Holocaust, 1938-45
  • Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598
  • India, 1992-2002
  • India: Suttee & Thugs
  • Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947
  • Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-
  • Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92
  • Jews, 1348
  • Jonestown, 1978
  • Lebanon 1860 / 1975-92
  • Molucca Is., 1999-
  • Mongolia, 1937-39
  • Northern Ireland, 1974-98
  • Russian pogroms 1905-06 / 1917-22
  • St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572
  • Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE
  • Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38
  • Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91
  • Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834
  • Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64
  • Thirty Years War, 1618-48
  • Tudor England
  • Vietnam, 1800s
  • Witch Hunts, 1400-1800
  • Xhosa, 1857
  • Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE
  • Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-
  • Al Qaeda, 1993-
  • Crusades, 1095-1291
  • Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609
  • Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s

If you add up all of the lives that were lost in the name of one religion or another, you come up with a staggering figure that is in excess of eight-hundred-million. That’s eight-hundred-million.  An eight, followed by eight zeros.  So, even if the believers who are uneducated enough to think that Hitler, Stalin and Pot were psychotic mass murderers because they thought these men were atheists, it is horrifically clear that religious murder wins out.

Abortion and Broken Relationships…

I won’t cover abortion here, as I have already wrote a piece on it that can be found by doing a search within my profile here at the Birmingham Atheism Examiner.  Clearly, though, to attribute abortion to atheism is utterly ridiculous, as there are many Christians who support it.

As far as broken relationships go, it is common knowledge that the divorce rate amongst Christians is about on par with non-Christians of all types.  Most Christians already know this. However, what they might not know is that the divorce rate amongst specifically non-believers of any faith – atheists – is demonstrably lower than that of believers, which only proves that the reason, rationality and personal responsibility that is dominant in most atheists serves as a better base for a relationship than an imaginary being that requires credulous servitude and a conceited desire to place himself above that of ones spouse and family.

Although the audacity of the Catholic Church continues to astound me in their attempts to bury their dirty laundry, the majority of the Christian community blaming atheism for the atrocities that have been committed largely in the name of religion or religious ideologies remains on of the pinnacles of arrogance.  If I listed in this article all of the atrocities committed directly by the church from it’s inception,  you would be finished reading it right before the coroner arrived to collect you for death by old age.

By and large, the church is only interested in protecting itself, it’s power and it’s wealth and will do so however it can, using whatever means necessary. It will not end until it is either forced to by international law or it is eradicated from existence by the abandonment of it’s membership. Either one would be fine with me


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